The Virginia Beach City Council is proposing a number of measures aimed at increasing MWBE participation on city contracts following the findings from a public contracting disparity study. Foremost among the proposals is the proposition of unbundling city contracts.
The study described "substantial" disparities when it was presented last year. It was found that Virginia Beach awarded 18.9 percent of its total contract dollars to companies in the state's Small, Woman, and Minority?owned Business (SWaM) Program during the period from 2012 to 2017; the study recommended that this be increased to 25.2 percent, in order to match the overall availability of such businesses. The proposal to break down large contracts into smaller contracts is aimed at making those smaller contracts more manageable for SWaMs to bid on.
Other proposals have been made as a result of the disparity study, including potential set-aside programs, greater specificity as to specific types of SWaMs desired in contract goals, opening a dedicated SWaM office to handle the SWaM program in the city, maintaining better data collection practices, having its own certification procedures instead of relying on state certifications, and instituting prompt payment procedures.
The disparity study can be read in full at https://southsidedaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/04.DisparityStudyFinalReport.pdf